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Rope and Reel

Ganguddy Goodoo

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Hi guys,

I've been lurking a while and learnt a fair bit on this site. I've particularly enjoyed reading about the rock fishing adventures of Waza's youth. Back when I lived in Sydney in the 90's I did a bit of climbing on the sea cliffs and remember being horrified at some of the fisherman's descents we used to access some climbs. Fast forward 25 years and I have taken up fishing after my 5 year old got interested. I've never done any rock fishing but have often thought about what nutters those Sydney rock fishos must have been. I've also thought about whether or not people fished some of the other sea cliffs I climbed on ... Point Perp at Jervis Bay, the dolerite in Tassie and the granite of Cornwell and Lundy in the UK. Anyway I came across this on the ABC today


This got me thinking. How many arborists, rope access workers and recreational climbers use their technical rope skills to access fishing spots? Is this a thing?

My son who is now 8 is keen on fishing and climbing. I'm thinking that in a few years when his brain catches up with his stoke I could see us combining the two. I'd love to hear about what other people are doing. For the past 30 years every time I have driven past a piece of rock I've wondered how it climbs. Now every time I drive past any sort of water I wonder how it fishes. I really must learn to keep my eyes on the road.




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Ive got a fair amount of climbing gear but mine was mostly used for photographing eagles in tree tops. When I head into the bush we often take shorter ropes to help assist getting down waterfalls etc. 

As for fishing rock ledges, I either fish close o the rocks from my boat or enter the water from the rocks to hunt in the water. If I was to fish certain rock platforms, Ive often thought it would be a good idea to take a drill to place a few anchor points incase of getting knocked over by big swell. I also wouldn't rely on any of those ropes that sit out in the sun, rain and salt environments continually, I would definitely be using my own gear. Even a short fall onto rock can be fatal.

I like the little bumbag buoyancy aids which are available, my kids use them kayaking to keep maritime off their backs. 

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Hi Ganguddy Goodoo believe it or not I actually have a fear of heights, but the fishy rewards of doing the cliffs were just so great that I had to go, regardless of fear. Take away the fish and I wouldn't do it in a pink fit!

From my perspective, when climbing the same areas continually, you genuinely get to know every single toe-hold, as indicated by climbing the cliffs in pitch darkness without even a headlight to help. I'd been climbing for years before I got a headlight and in those days, they were large and cumbersome my first one was powered by 4 x "D" cells which were worn in a belt-clipped power pack with a cord going under your shirt to the light. Stopped using it as it was just something else you could bump or get caught on.

Nothing much changes about the climb, anywhere where there are signs of erosion, a little maintenance- usually only a few minutes of "work" and it's "safe" again. It just wasn't practical to carry in climbing ropes and they remained on the cliff year round, you learn to climb with TWO ropes in each hand, giving good grip and the added safety of the extra rope in case of any possible rope failure. We replaced the ropes as necessary, as soon as there were any signs of wear or they swelled too much from water saturation.

One of the most amazing (to me) things I ever witnessed was two guys who came to the Mattens with a fellow club member - Neil J- and proceeded to climb the vertical wall above the actual main fishing area (we climbed down about 800 metres north) these guys were specialist climbers and they started their ascent just after dawn and were still only 3/4 of the way up the vertical wall by the time we left about 3 pm. No real safety gear for the lead climber and only the sandstone cracks to use as "grips" - I still marvel that anyone would go up the way they did.

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I remember talking to a rock climber years ago who was also horrified by the thought of climbing up and down crumbling sandstone cliffs near Sydney.  I guess not so bad if the rocks are more solid but the heavily weathered cliffs around Sydney take a strong nerve.  Having said that there were a couple of fixed ladder climbs on Dee Why headland that I went up as a teenager (too silly to sense the danger).  Lived at Bronte for a while - the spots where wazathefisherman fished were way out of my league. 

Hope you find a few spots where your son can get a few fish - I have 4 sons and I kick myself for not making more time to get them out on a river of beach for a few hours.   They were keen but I was too busy doing something meaningless.   

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JonD ... Its amazing the type of country you can access with a humble handline.  The more I get into fishing the more I think bushwalking and fishing are a win-win. When out looking for fishing spots you end up visiting some really cool places you would never of thought of as a bushwalker. And as a walker you are much more comfortable exploring harder to get to areas which have way less fishing pressure. This has been good for me chasing cod and trout.

Waza ... I bet those climbers would have got way more scared if they went down your descent route. It might have seemed a bit weird that they seemed to spend all day on that wall. But you probably need to understand the climbing process;

Step 1- pick a climb that is way to hard for you

Step 2- spend all day working out and practicing the moves

Step 3- somehow climb the whole route from bottom to top without falling off

Step 4- go to the pub and tell your mates how easy you found it

I still think climbing is about the most fun you can ever have but fishing is way simpler.


Dee Why Jim... yea mate the Sydney sea cliffs have a rep for choss. I remember being terrified on a few routes out at North Head.


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